Sotheby’s & Christie’s end 2015 with a BANG! who will prevail?

Although 2015 is drawing to an end, there are a few more auctions coming up with some magnificent jewelry pieces being offered for sale. On December 2nd, Sotheby’s is having its Fine Jewels & Jadeite auction in Hong Kong, followed by its December 9th Magnificent Jewels auction back in New York. Christie’s is also having its own event! On December 1st, Christie’s will be hosting its own Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels event, and on December 10th, Christie’s in New York will also have a Magnificent Jewels auction, continuing their tradition of going head to head with Sotheby’s for the honor of top auction house.
We wonder how each will have performed for the full year, as both have shown some unique pieces this year that garnered momentous prices, as well as having done so in past years. Feel free to comment, we’d love to hear what you have to say, and where you think these auctions will lead! After the auction, read our “post- auction” reports on those particular items we are covering right here, including our analysis on how they will affect the industry!

Christie’s December 1st Hong Kong Auction

Christie’s, also known for their expertise in Art, is offering unique and one-of-a-kind jewels in Hong Kong on 1 December. Its top lot is a 15.04 carat ruby. In the last few years, rubies have commanded top dollar and broken the record twice – when they were offered in their special color of “pigeon blood red”. Last year, Graff’s Ruby broke the record by selling for just over $1 million per carat (the first ruby to break the $1 million mark), while just a few short months later, another ruby was sold for a newer record of about $1.2 million per carat. At the same time, a fine ruby failed to sell at this past Geneva auction in November, not meeting the reserve set by the seller. We wonder how this will affect the sale of our current ruby. This particular ruby on auction is estimated at $672k to $1.034 million per carat.

15.04 carat ruby and diamond ring

15.04 carat ruby and diamond ring

The second highest valued lot also belongs to Rubies, this one a necklace. Estimated to reach a final hammer price between $6.2 million to $8.6 million, this necklace is also incomparable, featuring 32 pigeon blood red Burmese rubies and 32 colorless diamonds and weighing 59.72 carats. Having both the top lot as a ring and the second most lot a necklace is reminiscent of the last Auction in Hong Kong, where a ruby ring and necklace broke the record in the same manner.

59.72 carat Burmese ruby and diamond necklace

59.72 carat Burmese ruby and diamond necklace

The third top lot returns us to the world of diamonds as it is a 7.53 carat Fancy Intense Pink VS2 clarity pear shaped type IIa diamond. It currently has an estimated value of $5.8 to $8.4 million total or $775k-$1.12 million per carat. The present official record for such a size diamond of this color was earned by a 6.54 carat Fancy Intense Pink sold back on December 5, 2012 for $1.314 million per carat. Interestingly, a 7.07 carat Fancy Intense Pink VS2 diamond recently put up for auction at Christie’s in Geneva failed to sell as its last bid was sitting at $3.85 million total. It is interesting to note that while each diamond, although certified for the same depth of color, may show a different saturation despite having both been classified as the same depth, ‘Fancy Intense’. The color can be a weak “1” intense pink, or it can be a strong “10” intense pink, which will command a different price altogether. This is where an expert is needed by the potential buyer to help with this critical decision in order to ensure that he is bidding what a diamond is truly worth. It will be interesting to see how this diamond performs in Hong Kong.

7.53 carat Fancy Intense Pink VS2 diamond

7.53 carat Fancy Intense Pink VS2 diamond

7.07 carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond

7.07 carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond from Geneva

6.54 carat pink diamond

6.54 carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond from December 5, 2012

The fourth and fifth top lots are a Jadeite ring and a Jadeite necklace. These magnificent jewels are favored by Asians and are purchased for top dollar. We normally see Jadeite jewelry sold only in Asian auctions. The ring is estimated to be valued at a price between $3.63 million and $4.93 million. The necklace is valued between $3.63 million and $4.93 million.

Jadeite Cabochon ring

Jadeite Cabochon ring

Jadeite and diamond Cartier necklace

Jadeite and diamond Cartier necklace

The following top item once again returns us to fancy color diamonds. This too, is a Fancy Intense Pink diamond, a 5.22 carat cushion shaped diamond with IF clarity. It is currently valued between $3.24 million to $4.5 million total. The price has value in it. Depending on the color depth, a top color Fancy Intense Pink can be valued at well over a $1 million per carat. The resulting price is going to be very interesting.

5.22 carat Fancy intense Pink cushion shaped diamond

5.22 carat Fancy intense Pink cushion shaped diamond

The last item we wanted to bring to your attention is a pair of earrings containing top color pigeon blood red rubies. This year, we have seen these beautiful gems really soar in value at auctions, a further indication of the desire of investors to invest in hard assets for safety. This pair is valued between $2.96 million to $4.15 million in total.

18.13 carat Ruby and diamond earrings

18.13 carat Ruby and diamond earrings

 

Christie’s December 10 NY Auction

Following the December 1 auction, on December 10 Christie’s is moving to the Big Apple with its Magnificent Jewels auction, just like it does every year.
By looking at the top lots we can already see the difference in cultural taste, where the top 5 lots are white, magnificent, colorless diamonds, followed by an exquisite sapphire and a few fancy color diamonds.
The top lot is a colorless diamond named the “Victory” diamond. This rectangular diamond weighs 31.34 carats with D color and VVS2 clarity (and the potential of being IF clarity). We wonder if upgrading it to the potential IF will keep the diamond at above 30 carats. This will be judged by the potential buyers, and ultimately we will be able to see it by the final price paid and subsequent value given to the stone. Currently this diamond is valued at $4-$5 million, or between $127.5k to $159.5k per carat. This is not a record price per carat, but a great price for such a size. Let me add that unique diamonds such as this one are holding steady in a market where prices have deteriorated over the last 18 months, and most likely will continue to do so until mid-2016.

The 31.34 carat D color VVS2 ‘Victory’ diamond

The 31.34 carat D color VVS2 ‘Victory’ diamond

The second item on our list exhibits excellent color and size although not a top clarity. It is a 43.79 carat, D color VS1 cushion shaped diamond. It is also a type IIa diamond, which makes it quite rare. All these elements together contribute to this diamond’s $4-$5 million valuation.

43.79 carat D color VS1 cushion shaped diamond

43.79 carat D color VS1 cushion shaped diamond

I will skip a few top lots that are also colorless, and will jump to Lot #426 which is the 7th top lot. This Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond is 30.48 carats with a VS2 clarity. The current estimate for this diamond’s final price is $1.4 million – $1.8 million total. This value translates to $46k – $59k per carat. Based on this value, the Vivid Yellow diamond is most likely a weak vivid, which would explain the price, if we compare it to the 75 carat and the 91 carat Vivid Yellows that were recently sold at auctions.

30.48 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow VS2 diamond

30.48 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow VS2 diamond

The following lot on the top lots list is Lot #335, a 3.74 carat Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond with an unnamed clarity. This diamond is valued at $1.3 million – $1.5 million, which is quite a modest price. However, considering that this diamond has half a certificate, this most likely means that its clarity may not be the best, which explains the low valuation.

3.74 carat Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond

3.74 carat Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond

The last item of this auction that we wanted to share with you is Lot #334, a 1.74 carat Fancy Intense Blue VVS1 diamond (potentially IF according to the working diagram) with an incredible rare round shape. This diamond happens to also be a type IIb, similar to the infamous 45.52 carat Hope diamond. It is currently valuated at $700k to $1 million total, or $402k to $575k per carat. In the world of 1-3 carat size Fancy Intense Blue diamond records, the current top spot holder is the 2.11 carat one also with a VVS1 clarity that was sold on October 7, 2015 in Hong Kong. It sold for a record $900k per carat. If this 1.74 carat can break the $700-$750k per carat, it would give a new resistance level to prices for these rare diamonds.

1.74 carat Fancy Intense Blue VVS1 diamond

1.74 carat Fancy Intense Blue VVS1 diamond

2.11 carat Fancy Intense Blue VVS1 diamond

2.11 carat Fancy Intense Blue VVS1 diamond sold on October 7, 2015 in Hong Kong

 

Sotheby’s December 2 Hong Kong Auction

Sotheby’s 2 December Fine Jewels & Jadeite Auction in Hong Kong is offering very similar goods to that of Christie’s with its exquisite diamonds, rubies, jadeite, and sapphires. Asians are fascinated by colors, and the auction house’s offerings attest to that.
The top lot that day is a 9.24 carat round brilliant diamond. A G color with VS1 clarity, it is especially important in that it is a triple Ex, meaning that is exhibits excellent cut, excellent symmetry and excellent polish. It is estimated that it will sell at a price between $375k and $450k.

9.24 carat G color VS1 round brilliant diamond

9.24 carat G color VS1 round brilliant diamond

The second top lot of the evening is a Jadeite in the famous shape of “Guan Yin”. We have seen this shape offered many times in the Asian auction city. It is estimated to sell at a price between $361k and $452k.

Guan Yin Jadeite and diamond pendant

Guan Yin Jadeite and diamond pendant

Lot #1402 is quite interesting at 5th place in price valuation. It is a 5.04 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow oval shaped diamond with IF clarity. It has an absolutely beautiful and deep color. It is estimated that it will sell for $232k – $284k, or $46k to $56k per carat. We estimate that the price will be towards the upper valuation if not more due to the depth of color to the diamond, and of course due to its IF clarity. Having such a stone above 5 carats, would be a fantastic investment for a buyer.

5.04 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow IF oval shaped diamond

5.04 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow IF oval shaped diamond

Jumping to Lot #1465, the 7th top lot, we see a 4.06 carat Fancy Light Pink IF diamond. This diamond is dressed up with fantastic looking blue diamonds, and a colorless diamond halo for an exquisite finish. This ring is valued at $232k to $283k, a great value to any buyer.

4.06 carat Fancy Light Pink IF diamond

4.06 carat Fancy Light Pink IF diamond

A few more lots to follow would be #1466, a pair of Fancy Intense Yellow earrings, and Lot #1400, a Fancy Light Pinkish Brown diamond ring.

11.2 carat yellow diamond earrings

11.2 carat Fancy Intense Yellow diamond and diamond earrings

3.28 carat Light Pinkish Brown diamond double halo ring

3.28 carat Light Pinkish Brown diamond double halo ring

 

Sotheby’s December 9 NY Auction

Sotheby’s then jumps over to NY for its Magnificent Jewels auction where its top lot is a superb and unique piece. Lot #506 is an historic diamond necklace made by Van Cleef & Arpels in France, and that once belonged to Queen Nazli Fouad, former Queen Mother of Egypt. Totaling 217 carats, this necklace cannot go anywhere without being noticed. Just look at it!

217 carat Van Cleef & Arpels diamond necklace

217 carat Van Cleef & Arpels diamond necklace

Valued between $3.6 million to $4.6 million, we wonder how much of a premium will this necklace will achieve for both being designed by prestigious luxury brand Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as being a previous asset owned by a former Queen.
The second top lot goes to Lot #430, a dazzling 38.27 carat D color VVS2 emerald cut diamond. Let’s not forget that this diamond is considered to be a type IIa, so rarity is added to the mix. This lot is estimated at $3.5 million to $4.5 million, or $92k-$118k per carat.

A new record is not expected to be earned by this diamond, yet this is quite a strong price for it. It is too tempting to predict where prices will go, but we believe that in the valuation’s range, this will be of good value to investors and collectors alike.

38.27 carat D color VVS2 emerald cut diamond

38.27 carat D color VVS2 emerald cut diamond

The next item worth mentioning is Lot #507, the fourth top valued lot in the auction. This Fancy Pink pear shaped diamond weighs 6.93 carats, and is of VS1 clarity. Although the clarity is not premium within the colorless diamond spectrum, where we look for VVS2 and above for investment purposes, this size and color is still a rare breed in the color diamond world. Sotheby’s is valuing this diamond between $2.5 million – $3.5 million or $361k -$505k per carat. Should this diamond sell above the high end of the valuation, we will most likely see a new record for price per carat for such a size and color. This one is an exciting piece to follow in this auction.

6.93 carat Fancy Pink VS1 pear shaped diamond

6.93 carat Fancy Pink VS1 pear shaped diamond

I will jump a few top lots to share Lot #91 with you, a rare and fine 2.14 carat Fancy Intense Blue SI2 marquise shaped diamond. This lot is being valued between $500k and $700k total, or $234k to $327k per carat. Although this diamond is of low clarity, it still remains that it is a Fancy Intense Blue diamond, rare in that it is a color diamond but even rarer within the fancy color diamond range of colors. This price range was given to this diamond around 4 years ago, so we believe this is a good value investment. We also believe that the high estimation will be broken, if the color is deep enough to be in the high end of the Fancy Intense Blue depth color scale. The current record for a comparable diamond in this size category and depth of color is for a 2.11 Fancy Intense Blue VVS1 diamond sold on October 7, 2015 in Hong Kong by Sotheby’s, which sold for $900k per carat.

2.14 carat Fancy Intense Blue SI2 marquise shaped diamond

2.14 carat Fancy Intense Blue SI2 marquise shaped diamond

The last item is Lot #392, a brooch displaying 3 fancy color diamonds, and is made by well-known brand name Bulgari. On top of the brand name, it was also once owned by famous lawyer and philanthropist Adele G. Bergreen.
The Brooch has a 2.86 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow I1 diamond (not an exciting diamond). It also has a 2.47 carat Fancy Intense Blue VS2 diamond, and a 2.09 Fancy Intense Bluish Green SI1 diamond. The Fancy Intense Bluish Green is not natural, but is artificially irradiated. What is actually exciting in this brooch, is the Fancy Intense Blue diamond. The brooch is valued at $500k – $700k total. It will be curious to see how this brooch will perform against the 2.14 carat Fancy Intense Blue which has an SI2 clarity, but from comparing images, seems to me that the 2.14 carat Fancy Intense Blue has more depth of color, meaning a stronger color, which should command a higher price.

24.02 carat Bulgari fancy color diamond and diamond brooch

24.02 carat Bulgari fancy color diamond and diamond brooch

Conclusion

December will be closing the 2015 season of jewelry and special diamonds auctions, and the auctions will only kick start again later on in 2016. Although colorless diamonds had a special and challenging year, which we believe will continue into 2016, and may start recovering towards the summer, fancy color diamonds have held their value quite strongly in comparison. As the Asian markets are still being educated about fancy color diamonds, this market and other emerging markets will show significant market share for these rare diamonds for the foreseeable future.

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